Kids are sources of chaos… explosive, chaotic, disorganised, loud CHAOS!
This is often a source of stress for parents and even more so for teachers….
So crazy question… why?
Why do we let it affect as in such a negative way?
I imagine there’s a whole stack of answers to this question and no I’m not immune to this type of parental stress or teacher overwhelm but that’s what makes me question it even more…
From my experience, the main reason we tend to try and gain control over the chaos and become overwhelmed is really based on what other people might think if we don’t… parents worry about being judged by other parents, random strangers out in public and family members…however an uncomfortable reality is that those that are judging… will do it anyway!
People that get involved in other people’s business, that pass judgement or make you feel inadequate are just that way inclined and honestly it wouldn’t matter what you did, they’d judge! What if we refocused our energy into what is actually best for our kids? Isn’t it their happiness and development that we should be concerned with anyway?
Parenting styles have been the source of focus lately with the popular T.V show ‘parental guidance’ and I know what I seem to be referring to here would be considered very “free range” which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. While I definitely relate a lot to this parenting style – I don’t think anyone fits into any ‘one’ parenting box, we’re all a bit of a mix and I’m definitely not completely free range either.
I’m also not talking about letting kids do what ever they like. I’m not referring to chaos that involves nastiness, aggression, physically hurting anyone, bullying or anything of this kind…. What I’m talking about here is simply embracing the natural curiosity of children and allowing them to explore their environment with the type of natural excitement and energy that is so often squashed in our controlling, adult-centred systems.
Kids are born with this zest for experiencing the world around them. They want to jump in all the puddles, feel the rain, make mud-pies and make BIG messes! This is the type of chaos that can be quite triggering for parents and teachers, and it makes sense. Despite worrying about what people might think as discussed above… adults are also busy! We automatically think about the cleaning up that comes after this experience or the extra effort it might be to just allow the crazy to occur.
Here’s what happens when we let go and embrace the chaos…
1. We are organically nurturing their Triangle Genius… that spark of magic that makes them who they are…
In our culture of standardisation, we are losing the magic of creativity and individuality that is so imperative in helping children discover who they are and what they’re great at. Often if they’re not great at literacy and maths – they’re made to feel inadequate and will often lose the spark that keeps them motivated to engage in the creative pursuits that make them genuinely happy.
There are many misconceptions about creativity, some people think that creative teaching means a lack of discipline in education. Others see creative ability as the gift of a few, rather than of the many or only associate it with the arts. However creativity is possible in all areas of human activity and all young people and adults have creative capacities. Developing these capacities involves a balance between teaching skills and knowledge, and promoting the freedom to innovate, and take risks. Ken Robinson National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education 1999.
2. They are learning about the world around them
RESEARCH IS FORMALIZED CURIOSITY. IT IS POKING AND PRYING WITH A PURPOSE. Zora Neale Hurston
When we allow kids the space and freedom to explore with natural curiosity, we are allowing them their greatest learning tool. We know ourselves that when we have genuine interest in something and are able to explore uninhibited – we learn more than in formal settings. That’s what play is to children – learning about their world with uninhibited curiosity. When they jump in the puddle, watch it turn to mud and have the cause and effect of splashing – they’re learning basic scientific principles. When we try to control their play or deny them the freedom to make mess and be loud – we’re denying them some of the deepest and most significant learning of their lives.
3. They are happy!!!
4. You’re encouraging them to be curious, creative and free thinking adults
5. You might just get to re-live your favourite childhood memories and remember what’s really important
It’s not our job to teach kids to be quiet and obedient, and in fact (this might be an unpopular opinion), this kind of teaching can be extremely harmful. I know the common consensus is that children should be taught to “do as they’re told” and the even more ‘old school’ opinion is that sometimes children should be “seen and not heard”. I’m just not a fan of this way of thinking, I think it’s imperative to teach our kids to make noise, think & speak up for themselves and be able to say no to adults!
If we’re teaching our kids blind obedience, it’s harder for them to say no to “tricky” adults, which could lead to some pretty dangerous interactions. Every time a child is made to believe that an adult’s happiness or calm is dependant on their behaviour – they’re being moulded to believe they’re in charge of other people’s happiness. This means they might struggle to say no, become people pleasers or find themselves in toxic relationships.
As adults we need to practice what we preach and understand that we can control how we respond and react, and maybe there’s a deeper reason we react so negatively when our children are loud, chaotic, messy or when they tell us “no”…. maybe it is rooted in how we were responded to as kids. Whatever the reason, I think it’s important to analyse and reflect on how we react, and learn to respond instead with insight and acknowledgement of our children’s development, happiness, curiosity and creativity so that they can take these treasures with them into adulthood, for “what is an adult scientist but a kid that never lost their curiosity?” Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Super strict, control centred households and classrooms might “look” good and you might get a little thrill when people comment on how quiet and well-behaved your kids are… but what about each thrill you’re denying them, each moment of pure curiosity that could led to organic learning or just pure joy – or both! Every time you insist they walk around the puddle instead of jumping right in, they’re denied a little bit of magic.
Embrace the wild, for it’s in the weird & wild – you will delight in their wonderful.
Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear your thoughts.